Little Sal
Allagash Brewing Company

Little SalLittle Sal
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Style:
American Wild Ale
Ranked #173
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,666
Avg:
4.29 | pDev: 8.62%
Reviews:
28
Ratings:
127
From:
Allagash Brewing Company
 
Maine, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  79
Gots
  20
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Little SalLittle Sal
Notes: Few things are more synonymous with Maine than blueberries. After we spent years making fruit beers, a tiny farm in Windham, Maine asked us to try a beer with their blueberries. We were so happy with the result, we decided to use their entire crop.
We add two pounds of blueberries per gallon to sour red beer and age it for six months in a red wine barrel. The resulting beer is dark violet in color, with earthy aromas of blueberry and oak, and juicy, tart flavors of blueberry.
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 127 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Londonderry quick stop.
Lightly hazy reddish purple in color with a pink tinged head with great retention. Moderate earthy funk moderate tartness light to moderate blueberry twang. Pretty nice beer!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

With the full, unabashed and unapologetic use of local Northeast blueberries, Allagash brewers put their Belgianesque prowess to use with a lambic-like recipe that highlights those blueberries to nearly pin-point perfection.

Deep ruby and rising with a frothy neon pink cap, the beer's strong vinous scent brings out the tangy, fruity and succulent perfume of the dark berry along with strong suggestions of balsamic, cork, weathered woods, sea air and a touch of leather. Jammy sweetness of the fruit's residual sugars and pastry-like malts have a cobbler-like effect on the early palate.

As the sweetness lifts from the middle palate, the sourness strikes with a piquant red wine spice along with stronger peps of balsamic laced with crabapple, grapefruit, lime and gooseberry. Its berry character is condensed and exaggerated as such to suggest a berry medley of blackberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, black cherry and blueberry before a peppery finish of oak, tannins, leather and vinous booze.

Medium bodied yet somewhat fuller for sour ale, the richer malt and fruit structures ensure a creamier body deep into the sip until finally being driven off by the brazen and piquant sourness that erases thirst easily and effortlessly.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

if its made by allagash and is in one of these little cork and cage set ups, buy it. thats my policy, and it always turns out well. this is a blueberry one, to go with all the other cool fruited wild beers they have done in this format. fairly priced for what it is too, and among my favorite of all of these to date, makes sense with all the blueberries in maine and all. the color is melted crayon purple, with just a little light coming through and a tall airy just pink head, looks well bottle conditioned and heavily fruited. the aroma and flavor here is awesome, natural tartness to the blueberries sets up well with the funky yeast, which is a little more subtle and bretty than i am used to in these, which have been pretty sour and bacterial in my experience, and with maybe a less overt profile in many of them. i love the tannic element, all the oak, and how real the blueberry is. red wine notes support it, jammy and baked sweetness exists with the berries too, and there is enough carbonation pushing this forward that it never gets dense or fatiguing. so much fruit its crazy, and no other intense flavors here to take anything away from it. there is a high degree of mature funk to this, an almost lambic fermentation profile, especially in the nose, and overall this is just world class, and as good of a blueberry wild beer as i can recall ever having. allagash has done it again!

edit: just shared a bottle with a little age on it, and it has a distinct almost smoked and iodine character to it, like its somehow devolving in its maturation in the bottle, a very different flavor profile now, but still a brilliant beer. it comes more in waves now, with the blueberries having a flash at the climax but being less pronounced the rest of the time. i dont dislike this at all, its great, but i think it was a little more compelling when it was slightly fresher. smoke part is strange, almost a cedar wood thing too, curious but cool. always a joy to drink beer from these guys, especially in idaho where i never expected to have something like this! a great surprise today!

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip, the appearance was a mostly dark purple color with a thin semi-fizzy sounding yet almost sustaining eggshell purple toned head. This head just slid off to leave some concave lace sliding with the sips. Also, there was a huge pop when the bottle was opened up.
The aroma had freshly squeezed sweet and tart blueberry flesh and skin with some sour features of red wine barrel and ending with some lemon juice.
The flavor leaned towards the sour side with the sweet and tart character having some balance. Mild sticky blueberry sweet and tart aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fine sipping quality about it due to the high sour harshness causing some astringency (but to me, a really nice astringency. Carbonation felt good. Mild finish of blueberries and red wine.
Overall, I absolutely love blueberries so this is hard for me not to show much bias towards this specific beer. I will say yes as far as style is concerned. ABV felt appropriate.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unknown vintage; drank spring 2019. Bottle pour into a plastic cup.

A mild, boring take on the style; for Allagash, this was a pretty big disappointment. For most breweries, this would just be a middling brew; but knowing what they are capable of, this is too bad!

Worth drinking once, but not one to track down.

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Photo of JRed
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark candy red body, reddish cream head. Sour blueberry, fruit skins, vaguely medicinal in the nose. Tart blueberry, acidic, sour apples. Refreshing and light with spritzy carb.

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Photo of jhavs
4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap in snulip. Loads of blueberry aroma erupt from this deep purple brew. Bubbly pink head settles into very thin collar. Flavor is tart and sweet. Fresh and ripe blueberry, earthy wood and crisp and dry with moderate tartness

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Photo of thebeers
3.16/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Clear dark purple with two fingers of rocky, purple-tinted head. Spotty lacing.

Tart aroma with blueberries and red wine beneath and a touch of meaty, smokey yeast and formaldehyde.

Much more sour than expected, with some blueberry tartness up front. The meaty, smokey, formaldehyde impression from the nose, unfortunately, is even more intense here. There’s some red wine and white wine grape in there, too, and a semi-dry, slightly puckering finish — although the meatiness does linger a bit.

Medium bodied and lightly creamy with “tight” carbonation.

Very disappointed in this one. I’d been looking forward to it, but it is the worst I’ve had from Allagash by far. The meatiness is not to my taste at all, and I suspect it’s an off-flavor.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer poured a datk purplish red color with bubbly white head.

Smell - Amid the exploding bubbles tickling my nose, the nose radiated tart blueberry smarties.

Taste - Blueberries were followed by tart green apples in the initial taste. Strangely, I began to think of Smarties and 7up. The beer was not overly sour and had an odd citric vibe toward the back.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation was easily noted, helping to contribute to the dryness.

Overall - This is a nice dry sour, that lacks strong acidity. The blueberry disappears almost immediately, making me want more of what was promised.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle from January 2018.

Pours hazy purple-red with a short-lived head of light pink. Zero retention or lacing. Light blueberry in the nose with a hint of vineous wine. Medium bodied with a crisp, almost sparkling mouthfeel. More grape-like than blueberry on the palate with a clean acidity and light sourness. Finishes with some lingering blueberry, grape, and a hint of wine.

Tasty enough but needs more blueberry and funk.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml C&C bottle; bottled January 18th, 2018.

poured into a pair of Allagash Glasses because proper glass...

Appearance: Deep purple body with white head that has a purple hue. Head pours 3 fingers tall and seems to last as a cap onto the beer the entire drink.

Smell: Red wine, oak, jammy blueberries, & Allagash signature "house" funk.

Taste: Light to moderate tartness; 4/10 tart level. Balanced flavors in this sour; the red wine is prominent when the beer is at fridge temperature, but when this beer warms up the blueberry sweetness is the dominant flavor. Nice red wine and oak notes. Jammy and authentic blueberry flavor. Light funk notes that are all about the Allagash house funk / character.

Mouthfeel: light body with moderate carbonation. Crisp, clean, and slightly dry. Very drinkable for a wild ale in the best possible way. Allagash really knows how to craft spontaneous fermentation wild beers with world class mouthfeel.

Overall: Little Sal is top tier in Allagash's 375ml fruited beer portfolio! I think that Farm to Face and Pick your Own are just a little better, but not by much; both beers are more intense & sour than Little Sal. The balance and less sour approach of Little Sal is also something to be appreciated about this beer. The red wine notes with blueberries also make this very unique. Its something I can really appreciate about this spontaneous fermentation fruited wild. Also, Blueberries are a hard fruit to dial in with a wild fruit beer. They usually come across as very watery in most wild beers that I have tried from other breweries. Little Sal give a legit and authentic blueberry flavor! Allagash continues to impress me and they can do it without being surrounded with all the hype. World class brewery just doing what they do best.

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Photo of bobv
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan. 20, 2016.
Vigorous pour yields a fleeting 1/2 inch light pink head over a purple body. Head is gone in seconds with no lacing. Nose of blueberries, slight red wine barrel, and ever so slight funk. Wonderful taste of blueberries with a sweet and tart finish when the red wine tannins appear. The fruit sweetness hangs around at the end also for a perfectly balanced experience. Amazing! Nice feel and overall a fantastic blueberry sour. Damn, what a beer! Cheers to Allagash for this beauty!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml corked and caged bottle poured into willybecher glass.

A: Beautiful red purple body with what looks like huge carbonation. The Head wasn’t big but it had a nice red hue.

S: Lots of blueberries, and a little strawberry, get a light bit of Belgian yeast smell and Some vinegar. The oak from the wine and the grapes come out nicely.

T: Lots of the nose follows into the taste. Has a nice light puckering not super sour but very nice lots of blueberry.

M: Slightly tart nice carbonation dry finish.

O: Another amazing beer from Allagash, I love blueberries and this is exactly what you want a blueberry sour to taste like.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. Darker brown-purple body, one finger white head. Interesting smell and flavour, took me a little bit to get warmed up to it. Slightly plasticky at the beginning while cold, a bit of leather and citrus, funk, light oak. The blueberry sweetness starts to pop out a bit more as it warms and that plastic-like character fades away. So definitely wait to drink this one at least at cellar temperature, rather than chilled. Mouthfeel is lighter medium bodied, slightly plasticky finish that gives way to a bit of sweet fruit on the finish accompanied by a mild-moderate acetic acidity.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

In my teku the beer is a pretty light purple color and it has no head.
Nice aroma of blueberries, oak, and vanilla.
Sweet and tart blueberry taste. Very earthy and funky.
I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this beer. The blueberries and the sense of earthiness worked beautifully with each other.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at EBF.

This one pours a pretty tasty-looking dark blue, looks like a ton of blueberries were used in this one. It stains the sample glass a bit, even. There's a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like ridiculously sour and fleshy blueberries, with some oak and heavy acid. Smells pretty inviting.

This beer is absolutely ridiculous, but fairly out-of-character for Allagash. Allagash is usually a bit more even-handed with their beers, preferring complex subtlety over bombast. So it's kinda cool to just see them go HAM on a beer like this- it's a blueberry bomb, through and through. It's sometimes hard to get blueberry flavor to come through strongly and effectively in a sour, but Allagash seems to have it figured out. The flavor is so pulpy, juicy, and blindingly sour, with some good oak character as well. It's pretty simple, but devastatingly effective.

This is medium bodied, with a seedy and super juicy mouthfeel. The sourness lingers for a while on the palate.

This is exceptional, and kind of against the grain when it comes to what Allagash usually does. I'd wish for a bit of funk complexity, but I can't argue with how this tastes.

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour at EBF with no line at the Allagash booth. Yet another nearly perfect fruited wild ale from Allagash. Everything in balance, including the level of sourness. Despite being so well known and respected, Allagash is still underrated.

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Photo of wedge
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

@ RIdgewood

Hazy plum color with a fuzzy pinkish head. Jammy berry and tart wine barrel aromas...juicy berry, wet burlap, straw, and spicy wood. Tart blueberries and spicy wood barrel flavors. Tangy juice, vinous fruit, and dusty funk. Medium bodied and very dry on the gums. Moderate berry presence, especially in terms of sweetness. Good stuff.

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Photo of dc55110
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pour was deep crimson, very effervescent. Smell was slightly musty and hints of berry. Taste was good for a blueberry sour. The skin of the fruit was most present, as it typical for a blueberry sour, but the meat of the fruit gave it a more full blueberry flavor. Slightly sweet, tart but not overly sour, with a nice dry finish.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle dated February 2015 into my Bier Cellar tulip.

The beer pours with a thick head of lightly pink or purple bubbles, seriously, the head on this thing is gorgeous. It also sticks around forever. The beer itself is a deep plum color, very opaque, its Gorgeous. The nose is all blueberry, it just oozes fruit. The beer itself is quite bitter up front, lots of sour blueberry flavor here, also maybe some green apple coming through from the underlying beer? Its fruity bitter, not bitter from yeast. This up front bitter does slowly fade to a mildly acidic finish. The fruit tales off towards the end and acidity takes over.

Overrall this beer is just lovely. Definitely a get if you can put your hands on it.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A slight haze on a deep purplism plum red. Moderate carbonation on the pour produces a soft off-white head with a slight purple tinge. Spotty thin cap and a small creamy collar.

Smell: Pure macerated blueberries. Layers of citric and mildly acetic tartness. Some soft funk. Touches of lemon. Red wine grape. Other dark fruit - cherry mostly. Deeply vinous. Nice push of wood through the back. Some damp earth with hay. Sharp cheese. A little bit of leather. Some general barnyard. Malt base is incredibly light with some minor sweetness. A touch of yeast.

Taste: Slightly soured berry. Blueberry, hints of blackberry, and some cherry skin as well. Musty funk. Damp barrel, earth, and grass. Hints of hay and well worn leather. A touch of cheese in the back. Dry red wine. Solidly vinous on the initial part of the sip. Gives way to a tart clean blueberry. A soft fluffy yeast. Pushes of lemon juice and a mild acetic edge as well. Blueberry juice. A touch of barnyard mostly wood and hay. Warming pushes some more of the red wine through the back while the funky tart blueberry rides on top. Citric bite continues for the duration.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Dry with an incredibly high astringency.

Overall: Read a book, drink the beer.

This is a top notch blueberry sour. There's enough blueberry character to stay on top of everything and the layers of funk work as a nice compliment to the fruit. The small hint of acetone I get in most Allagash sours is also missing.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 8/2/15

A: Pours a medium purple, with some rich garnet and pink around the edges - mostly clear - medium, off-white head, fades to a wispy cap, leaves a little lacing

S: Blueberries in abundance - blueberry skin, blueberry flesh, blueberry juice - really like smelling a blueberry - some touches some wine - oaky wood becomes more prevalent as it warms -lightly tart and lightly sour - light acidity - a hint of blueberry yogurt - some pale malts at the base, but mostly this is all about the fruit

T: Tart, light blueberries - blueberry skin, blueberry flesh, blueberry juice - very juicy, but also dry and very well-attenuated - lightly sour, with some lactic touches and some tart acidity - light touches of wine, and a nice touch of wood, not too much - a lot of potentially strong flavors here, but it's balanced, and it's wonderfully delicate - finishes tart with lingering acidity

M: Medium body, nicely carbonated, mostly dry finish

O: Little is the new big

While this is not markedly sour, the tart blueberries are great. This is simply a great use of blueberries. It's potent without being ridiculous. I'll be driving back up to Portland if this comes out again.

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Photo of rudzud
4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Tim for sharing this at his place on a beerventure through Maine with JLindros. Reviewed from notes. Batch 2

A - Poured into a standard tulip a great clear deep red with a thin halo.

S - Aromas of bright berry skin, wine barrel, light tart blueberry. Nice faint brett funk too.

T - Taste is loads of berry, wine, vinous subtle tartness and funk. Nice dry finish and solid acidity.

M - Mouthfeel is brightly carbonated, clean.

O - Overall this beer was really tasty, blueberries really pops in the background.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Tim for sharing this one, don't think I would have tried it otherwise.

Pretty much no head, clear rosy cranberry color.

Nose nice mild funk, bit of Brett horse blanket funk, little souring, nice blueberry in the background, touch of funk, little barrel note.

Taste brings nice lactic acid, bright souring funk and light Brett funk, nice blueberry esp in the background, good funk level, juicy tangy blueberry. Finish brings more acidity, tangy blueberry juice, little funk, dry.

Mouth is med bod, lighter carb, good acidity.

Overall pretty enjoyable, nice sour and funk levels, wish the blueberry was a bit more although it's probably hard to do at this level.

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Photo of Pip_Count_167
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Tart and crisp. Brings to mind the flavor of a dry cabernet sauvignon, puckery tannin flavor; but Sal has a delicate refreshing feel in the mouth. This was my first sour beer from Allagash, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for other releases. This beer is unique and special in my limited experience. I wish it weren't limited to one bottle per customer, cause with the weather warming up I'd be happy drinking this every day.

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Little Sal from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 127 ratings